One of my only requests in life is that food and housing are free and to get rid of loud-mouthed critics who find fault with even the sun and golden retrievers and as long as I’m at it, could we, as in you, the great creator, the grand poobah, the ballybushka, the one and only, the he-she-it who mixes genes, blood, and bones to make babies …. could you create an ageless boy wonder and put him on the Miller Park pitcher’s mound?
(now i’m cowering out of fear for being too greedy) but just one more thing, could you have him skunk the St. Louis Cardinals, just once? I promise to never ask another thing again. (fingers crossed behind my back) I’ll treat that one spanking or skunking like it was game 7 of the inter-galactic championship and those unbeatable punks from Mars lost their edge and were taken down.
Meanwhile, back in reality, I could probably comb through regular season reels, from the Brewers National League inception in 1998 to a futuristic doomsday and I might never see a more masterful pitching performance by a Brewer’s pitcher against the Cardinals than i did yesterday afternoon, June 1, 2016.
Zach Davies may not wear a cape with an R on the front, but he has the most boyish look of anyone I’ve ever seen since ummm, Brewers manager Craig Counsell? Davies was born February 7, 1993. That makes him 23. He was drafted by the Orioles in 2011, traded to the Brewers for Gerardo Parra in 2015, on July 31 to be exact. Counsell was the manager at the time. He saw something.
Davies only pitched 34 innings last year. Only allowed 26 hits too, 2 home runs, good enough for Counsell to say, Howdy partner. Hop on the saddle. You’s in the rotation. He was roughed up a bit early on this year, but misleading roughed up. Didn’t Mark Twain say statistics lie? Anyway, yeh, Davies suffered a few bad bounces, seeing eye singles and one mistake pitches, a bloated ERA.
He may look young but he’s composed. It’s his ability to touch all corners of the strike zone, saw off batters on the inside and fade away to the outside and most importantly, he keeps the ball LOW, VERY LOW, ALWAYS LOW, nothing but the LOW, so help him wind.
He’s not overpowering, never tops 92 MPH. He’s a lot like my previous favorite Brewers pitcher – Marco Estrada who was the partial inspiration of two stories in Dreaming .400 – the character Moonsher in ‘Ship Not Sinking’ and Jimmy Durgendoff in ‘Durgy’s Home Stand.’ Both fictional pitchers, like Estrada and Davies, do not rely on heat. They can’t. They don’t have heat, so they use trickery and deception. The change-up is their deadly weapon.
No Cardinal reached second base yesterday, not with Davies on the mound…a 5’9″ 155 pound bouncer. He only allowed three hits over eight innings, three puny singles, struck out NINE Cardinals too, had them flailing all day at low change ups and what makes it even more impressive is how hot the Cardinals were coming into the game. In their previous five games, they had scored 33 RUNS and banged out 51 HITS.
Davies went over the 100 pitch mark in the 8th inning so Jeremy Jeffress came on in the ninth, served up a pinch hit home run and that’s fine. Sometime the best pitching performances don’t wind up being perfect games, no-hitters, 20 strikeout performances, or even shutouts. They go almost unnoticed and that’s fine, almost preferable.